Headspace content strategy case study

How Headspace Attracts 8 Million Leads Per Year Through Content Clusters

Meditation isn't hard. You sit down, focus on your breath, and do nothing for the next hour. If it's this simple, How is it that Headspace manages to attract 713.000 leads per month to their website?

There is an answer to this:

  1. Meditation isn't as simple as it seems.
  2. We have too many thoughts, doubts, and fears we can't control.
  3. We acknowledge these are problems, but we can't solve them.
  4. Headspace provides a solution.

This article is a breakdown of Headspace's content strategy to land over 270.000 links across the web, rank for more than 100.000 keywords, and have more than 66 million signed users.

Splendid implementation of content clusters.

Headspace content clusters
Headspace's perfect content organization

A content cluster is a group of content pieces that shares a topic:

  1. A smartphone vendor can talk about accessories, phone reviews, and tech news.
  2. An illustrator can write about app tutorials, illustration tips, and how illustration impacts someone's business.
  3. A bike seller can write about racing, casual, and electric bikes.

The implementation of content clusters helps users navigate and educate themselves about the topics you are an expert in. It also provides several SEO advantages: Authority-passing opportunities, internal linking, and increased user session time.

Headspace lets you know about their content clusters from the moment you get into their website. 

Their navigation bar links to their four content clusters: Meditation, Sleep, Stress, and Mindfulness. This structure allows the user to know the topics they will find on the website and mobile app. 

It also helps them to take advantage of the homepage's authority. More on this soon.

Use of internal links to rank new pages.

Internal linking is an overlooked action that anyone can use today to boost their rankings, and it's what Headspace does inside their homepage. They pass some of the authority from their homepage's URL to the content clusters and other pages.

Headspace's homepage receives 125.317 backlinks and has an URL rating of 88. In layman's words, Google trusts this URL and will prioritize anything that it publishes compared to a lower-rated website.

Due to the website's structure, their content clusters receive the bulk of the benefit. The result is that never-read-before articles are more likely to rank in the short-term.

The homepage distributes the strength of each link to the content clusters.

Their meditation cluster is an example of leveraging the homepage's authority and growing pages together:

  1. The homepage receives 125k backlinks, 731k monthly users, and has a URL rating of 88.
  2. Headspace places a link to their meditation cluster inside the homepage.
  3. They take their cluster's strength from zero to 33 by doing this.
  4. They go a step further and link to everything related to meditation from this cluster to build topical relevance.
  5. Each post that is part of the meditation cluster will leverage the strength from the cluster.

The simple act of internal linking led to over 100k monthly search visitors, 12.5k backlinks, and a URL rating of 33. While 33 might not seem like a lot, it's enough to make each post a dangerous competitor to anyone trying to rank for meditation.

Breakdown of the article's structure: 

Headspace's domain rating helps to rank new articles. But if those articles are of low quality, users will leave as fast as they arrive at them. Each user that leaves the website is a negative vote: It tells Google that you aren't good at solving their concern, doubt, or question. 

After knowing how users and article quality affect your rankings, there is an important conclusion: There is no point in acquiring links, traffic, leads, viewers, and readers to a poorly built website.

Fortunately, Headspace has one of the most beautiful blog formats I've come across. I'm labelling it as beautiful from two points of view:

  1. Design of each post.
  2. How well they understand SEO and user behaviour.

To understand these two points of view, I will use two posts.

First, let's see their post that explains what meditation is. 

As soon as you get into the article, you will notice how it's not a background full of white with text in the middle. It's a colourful and easy-to-read post. 

It has Headspace's custom graphics working as branding elements. And it explains every concept with the least amount of words possible.

Meditation is a skill image from @mrnicolasforero

Because of this, Headspace is ranking number five for the keyword "meditation." According to Ahrefs, this feat isn't hard to achieve:

  1. You'd need to receive links from at least 619 websites to reach the top 10 results.
  2. The top two results are YouTube (second largest search engine) and Mindful.org. 

Headspace focused on making the text concise and pleasant to read. A focus that few companies have had in an environment where "good practices" mold design decisions.

Besides their design, there is also their understanding of SEO and user behaviour.  

Nowadays, every business interested in ranking must care, invest, and work in SEO. Sadly, many companies engage in faulty practices such as aiming for a specific keyword density or word count and see no results.

What is meditation MrNicolasForero

Headspace goes against these practices, focuses on the user, and crafts posts that maximize ranking potential. Their article on Meditation for Beginners is a great example:

  1. YouTube videos to increase session time.
  2. They use images, dividers, and different font sizes to combat skimmers.
  3. Solve the most important questions that someone searching for the query might have.
  4. The page's footer links to dozens of pages related to meditation that help users and Google bots to find pages.
  5. They add CTAs to their main product (app) in the initial and last part of the article.

The results? 12.306 monthly readers that would cost 24.500 USD/mo to attract through paid advertisement. 

Headspace's multi-format efforts. 

Beginner brands focus on one platform. 

As they realize the exponential growth that blog content can bring, they start a YouTube channel, podcast, or Newsletter. Headspace goes beyond that.

Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk and Headspace's co-founder, has written three books. Each is related to Headspace, well-being, and Mindfulness. 

As a reader of The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness, I can assure you that there are many calls-to-action to support the book's exercises and lessons through the app. While I haven't purchased the other two, I'm sure they are no different. 

Besides promoting themselves through books, they go past the usual YouTube route and go straight into streaming services. They created an entire Netflix series related to meditation and mindfulness called "Headspace guide to meditation." A clear and branded title.

Headspace's collaboration caught the eyes of high-authority sites:

  1. Decider with 74 Domain Rating.
  2. Vulture with 86 Domain Rating.
  3. The Verge with 91 Domain Rating.

Alongside the link strength that they provide, each of these sites introduces millions of people to the Netflix show and the app. 

The result is a site that is more likely to rank in the future, capable of keeping its current rankings, and a new pool of potential customers who will subscribe to Headspace in the future.

Missed opportunity: Stealing Netflix's viewers.

While it's a Netflix show, we have to remember that this is still content. 

It's free for anyone with a subscription. Its goal is to bring value to the subscriber's lives. However, it's practically free nature doesn't mean it is not a business move. There was a monetary and time cost.

After analysing 7670 backlinks pointing at Headspace, I saw two unexpected results: 

  1. High-authority websites are mainly linking to Netflix instead of Headspace.com—A loss in authority, leads, and traffic.
  2. There is no CTA on the show's landing page. Meaning that even if someone entered the landing page, the company isn't making an effort to capture their email, trigger an app download, or encourage a subscription. 

There's a chance that a  percentage of Netflix watchers turn into paying customers. But if we focus on the user who's directly going into Headspace, the results are underwhelming. 

Headspace's awareness of content—Final words.

Headspace's content success is a mix of design, user and search engine understanding, and an omnichannel approach.

Their articles on meditation wouldn't rank in the top 10 results without their surprising use of design and structure. They wouldn't rank in the top 20 results without their understanding of search engines. And they wouldn't have a chance to show up if they hadn't built a name for themselves through YouTube, social media, and the app ecosystem. 

If you are a company that understands its value propositions and the importance of content for long-term success, I have developed a process to attract traffic and leads through the website content. 

Book a call here so that I can build a content strategy specifically tailored for your business.

Solve your doubts at no cost.

I teach creatives, CEOs, and teams how to run a profitable business through content creation.

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